GETTING THE MOST FROM GOD'S WORD:

"Do NOT labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting LIFE..." - The Gospel of John 6:27 (NKJV)
A systematic and daily reading of the Word of God is important in maintaining a strong Christian life. Establish a daily quiet time with God and His Word. Pray that the Holy Spirit will help you understand what you read. By following our daily Bible reading schedule through this blog, you will be able to read the Bible through in a year. Please note that you may utilize the ‘BIBLE READER’ app that is installed at the bottom of this webpage to assist you in reading the specified scripture portion for today.

To get the MOST from God's Word, please do the following intentionally:
1. REQUEST God to connect with you as you read the word of God with FOCUS and OPENNESS to see what God wants to speak with you.
2. READ the selected sections of Scripture slowly as you mark the words and phrases that intrigue you, even reading them the second time to get a better understanding.
3. REFLECT on what God is communicating to you; stopping long enough to let the seed of God's Word take root in your heart.
4. RESPOND to the passage speaking directly to God about what is in your heart, and then look out for ways to live out what you find - individually, and to others within your church and elsewhere.

As you read and meditate, ask yourself the following three questions:
a) What is God speaking to me through this passage?
b) Is there a command, a promise or a warning for me?
c) Is there an example for me to follow?

Please POST your comments below if there is a thought or message that the Lord has spoken to you through the passage that you are reading and meditating today. Please make sure that your post is aligned to the scripture passage mentioned at the header. All comments should pertain to the relevant scripture portions only, and should be aimed to glorify God (the true author of 'The Bible') & edify everyone who visits this blog site daily - both young and old. May God bless you abundantly for encouraging others through your comments!

Let's PRAY...
LORD, give me the desire to take a little time out of my busy schedule today as I read and meditate on Your Word. Give me this day MY DAILY BREAD. Speak to me clearly & lead me today as my Good Shepherd. Help me to be a blessing to others who interact with me as I attempt to be a living witness of Your Word today. In Your Name I pray, AMEN.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September 15 Bible Reading: Hosea Chapters 1-3

FORGIVENESS can SAVE and TRANSFORM a MARRIAGE: "And it shall be, in that day," says the Lord, "that you will call Me 'My Husband,' and no longer call Me 'My Master'.” (Hosea 2:16)

Hosea illustrates God’s enduring desire and love for His people. The first three chapters, which is Hosea’s personal story with his unfaithful wife Gomer, symbolize God’s relationship with the unfaithful Israel. In Hosea 2:16, the names ‘Ishi’ (My Husband) and ‘Baali’ (My Master) are significant. The former is a term of affection and represents the closest loving relationship, while the latter indicates servitude and inferiority.

Just like a gentle husband making sincere attempts to restore his relationship with his wayward wife, God seeks to win Israel back by making romantic overtures and wooing her with tender words of love. God would “give her back her vineyards” (v. 15) that had been taken in judgment. Just as Hosea reclaimed his wife, so God will one day reclaim His people, renew His “marriage vows,” and restore His people to blessing. Three specific blessings will occur “in that day” (v. 16) when God restores His people:
  1. First, there will be a new relationship (2:16–17). The people will call God “my husband,” not “my master”, so there will be a more intimate relationship.
  2. Second, there will be a new covenant (2:18–20). God will institute a new covenant with His people that will bring universal peace.
  3. Third, there will be a new blessing (2:21–23). God’s promised blessings and fruitfulness will be poured out on the people.
Through the tragic story of Hosea and Gomer, God reveals both the depth and power (a) of His love for Israel and (b) of the marriage bond.  God describes His suffering the pain and humiliation of Israel’s unfaithfulness; and in obedience to God, Hosea suffers the same pain and humiliation of his own wife’s unfaithfulness.  But God shows him how the marriage can be saved: through suffering and forgiveness.

This is one of the most profound revelations about marriage found anywhere in Scripture.  Successful marriage is not a relationship of perfect people living perfectly by perfect principles.  Rather, marriage is a state in which very imperfect people often hurt and humiliate one another, yet find the grace to extend forgiveness to one another, and so allow the redemptive power of God to transform their marriage. Remember, forgiveness can save and transform a marriage!

"Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you." (Eph 4:31-32)

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